There are actors who transform into roles and are essentially unrecognizable from role to role–Daniel Day Lewis comes to mind.
Then there are actors who are ALWAYS themselves, no matter what–Jimmy Stewart was always Jimmy Stewart.
It seems to me Bradley Cooper is somewhere in between there, but closer to the disappearing kind, and part of the reason I think that comes from watching different movies–Sack Lodge from Wedding Crashers doesn’t even really look that much like Pat Solitano from Silver Linings Playbook.
And then there’s the matter of impersonations. Mr. Cooper’s good at them, and it’s interesting to me to watch him do them. There’s a facility for mimicry, obviously, both in voice and mannerism. But it’s also a talent for storytelling, for finding the right line to quote. I think it’s a reflection of intelligence and also a very actorly amibtion and habit–he’s clearly someone who spends A LOT of time watching and listening other people.
It’s just plain funny to hear Owen Wilson’s voice coming out of Bradley Cooper’s pretty face. But it’s good comedic instinct on the impersonator’s part to understand that the surprise of the voice will be even funnier if the diction also dips down from James Lipton’s comment, “Christopher Walken and Owen Wilson both have very distinctive sounds” to Cooper shifting into an Owen Wilson posture to say, “Claire’s mom made me feel her hooters.”